NXEA praised for cycle-friendly policies

A Houses of Parliament reception was held for the winners of the National Cycle Rail Awards 2010, with transport expert Christian Wolmar presenting the event.

The prestigious 'Operator of the Year' award went to National Express East Anglia has been for its “proactive, ongoing and sustained commitment” to cycle-rail integration.

Judges agreed that NXEA had continued its mission to enhance facilities for cyclists using the rail network and that its determination to find innovative ways to provide a better service for bike users on trains and in stations “had built on the best achievements of previous winners of the award”.

With more than 1,000 additional cycle parking spaces added to stations bringing the total number across their network to more than 3,000, the judges’ panel agreed the operator had demonstrated a real commitment to cyclists and cycle-rail integration consistently during the past five years.

In addition to more cycle parking, in the past 12 months NXEA had promoted cycle-rail opportunities, enhanced cycle security, supported cycling events and increased awareness of the benefits of using the cycle-rail combination to further improve its service.

The operator, which has earmarked a £260,000 investment programme at ten stations that will result in another 450 spaces, now boasts cycle parking facilities at 82 per cent of its 167 stations.

NXEA, who allow cycles to be carried free of charge, have introduced hire facilities at Wroxham and Southminster and has a cycle rescue service for journeys in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, with plans to extend it to Essex and Hertfordshire.

South West Trains, which runs services between Portsmouth and London, gained two awards for encouraging cyclists onto its trains.

One was a highly commended award for Most Innovative Approach to Cycle Rail Integration. This was for a scheme which allows passengers to hire out bikes from London's Waterloo station.

Following a successful trial amongst season ticket holders, the scheme has now been rolled out to all South West Trains passengers.

And Brockenhurst station in the New Forest was given the customer service excellence award for a new system which alerts users of the availability and location of bike spaces on incoming trains.

The National Cycle Rail Awards are run by the Association of Train Operating Companies. For more information on the winners visit http://www.cyclerail.com/